I was completely ignorant about one of Singapore's best delights, the Hawker Centers and the sheer variety of absolutely delicious food available in them. By pure chance I wandered into the Maxwell Hawker Center one day and was both lost and fascinated by the experience. That day I tried what I now know to be the extremely popular and famous Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice and it was love at first bite.
Wok and Barrel is situated in a quiet and interesting little neighborhood of Singapore called Duxton Hill. A restaurant with a cool name, great atmosphere and even better food. A perfect place to cool off with a nice drink and a good lunch on a hot afternoon.
The midautumn festival is an important harvest festival celebrated by Chinese around the world. Lighting lanterns is one of the most revered and enjoyable traditions of the festival. In Singapore, lanterns can be seen in many places during the festival, but one of the largest and most beautiful displays are to be seen in the scenic grounds of the Chinese gardens in Jurong east.
Makansutra Glutton's bay is a hawker center by the Singapore esplanade by the bay. It has great views of the bay with outdoor seating.
Ya Kun Kaya Toast is a local franchise business that prominently highlights the story of the humble origins of its founder, Ya Kun, who started out with a roadside tea stall after immigrating to Singapore from Hainan China. He would eventually start using Kaya in his toast supposedly on the suggestion of his wife. Soon his stall serving up a simple meal of eggs, toast and tea became hugely popular and successful and started to expand.
Lau Pa Sat or "old market" used to be a market in the heart of what is today's central business district or CBD area in Singapore near the bay. It now is a hawker center popular with the crowds of office workers in the day. At night, the neighboring Boon Tat Street outdoor market opens up which is famous for its satay stalls.
Haw Par Villa, also known as the Tiger Balm gardens, is a place that I have difficulty categorizing. I am still not certain if it is a surreal masterpiece intended to mess with your head or just so horribly bad that it is good.
The Singapore Botanical Gardens are an impressive creation with a large area of beautifully landscaped grounds with lawns, trees, plants, flowers, lakes and enough meandering pathways to lose yourself in for a while and forget you are in the heart of bustling modern Singapore.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Singapore's Chinatown area is supposed to house an actual relic of the Buddha inside it. Whether this is true or not, the temple is a popular place for worshippers. Tourists are also welcome and while the lower section is typically where the services take place and devotees light incense or donate money, the upper sections house a museum holding a nice collection of historical Buddhist statues and artifacts from many places.
Haji Lane and Arab Street apparently used to be part of a quiet ethnic enclave selling cloth, rugs and the like. It still does that, but it has also transformed into one of Singapore's most hip neighborhoods with boutique shops and middle eastern style cafes. Naturally also a great place to enjoy a hookah on the street over some snacks with hummus.